Wrong Pitch for Burnley in Blackpool
Saturday 13th April 2013 @3pm Kick-Off
Burnley had to endure playing on an awful pitch at Bloomfield Road on Saturday. You could see the pitch cutting up in the pre-match warm up and according to Blackpool fans it would appear their pitch suffers from some sort of fungus which is responsible for the poor state of the turf. Sean Dyche in his post match commented on the playing surface as follows:
'It was a tight affair. They had the better fist of it the first 25 minutes but I actually thought they managed to play on that surface.
'We had pockets of it as the half went on, their keeper made a brilliant save against Wallace which is the best I've seen for quite some time.
'(In the) second half the quality softened because of the pitch - which is the worst I've ever seen in my career and I've played on some bad ones, I can assure you.'
With their passing game impossible the Clarets resorted to the tactics of percentages hoofing the ball up front and hoping the likes of Vokes and Austin might be able to get a lucky bounce. It did not pay off and despite looking the better side in the first half they succumbed to a pretty stunning goal by Blackpool`s Sylvestre in the 58th minute. To be honest Burnley were completely ineffective and it is difficult to recall one decent attempt on goal in the second half. The 1-0 defeat once again stirred concerns about relegation and we are not out of the woods just yet by any means. We dropped to 14th spot after this game and on 54 points Burnley are now five points clear of the third from bottom club, Barnsley having played the same number of games. With two tough league games now coming up, Leeds away on Tuesday night followed by virtually promoted Cardiff on Saturday at home; we could still find ourselves in a very jittery position going into the final two games of the season if we lose both those matches.
Dyche made just one change to the starting eleven selected for the previous Bristol City home game. As expected a fit again, Ben Mee returned to the left back spot so we lined up as follows :
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Mee, Wallace , McCann, Marney , Stanislas Vokes, Austin
Subs : Jensen, Lafferty, Edgar, Bartley, Treacy, Ings, Paterson
Full Match Report
It was a nice bright and even warm sunny day travelling on the 'ickle train from Burnley Central going down the single line into Blackpool South and with it came the optimism. However by the time Northamptonshire referee, Dean Whitestone got the match underway the weather had turned for the worst and the rain aided by the coastal winds was giving those folk in the bottom end of the rickety away stand (including yours truly) a right soaking! It was miserable and the game was not about to cheer things up. It was impossible to play good football on this shocking, awful pitch and those blessed pillars and restricted views just made the whole experience pretty grim as the match deteriorated into a scrappy affair. Ben Mee returning from injury was soon being made to work and he was continually tested down the left in these early stages. Blackpool of course are more used to playing on this dreadful pitch compared to the visitors but that didn`t stop our former loan striker, Nathan Delfouneso making a right hash of things with the pitch-affected ball leading to an embarrassing air shot just six yards out from goal. Kirk Broadfoot was then given far too much room by the Burnley defence and managing to cut in past Mee he unleashed a curling shot that flew across Grant only to finish up just wide of target.
The Clarets though now began to get in the game and in the 15th minute they nearly took the lead. Stanislas unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards out but the ball stubbornly struck the inside of the post and bounced out. With the passing game virtually impossible for both sides, the match became pretty dire to watch until four minutes from time when Ross Wallace nearly woke up the visitor`s end with a moment of magic. Austin, having a pretty quiet game laid off the ball and Wallace collected before cutting in from the right wing to unleash a stunning volley that curled and dipped towards target. Gilks though pulled off a wonder save getting a finger tip to the ball and turning it over the bar. Goalless then as a pretty uninspiring first half came to an end.
The second-half looked to be going the same way until the 57th minute when the home side finally broke the deadlock! On this pitch it was always going to be an individual effort that was likely to break the deadlock and boy did that come from Ludovic Silvestre. The Frenchman was allowed to cut inside but nobody expected him to unleash a shot from 25 yards out but he did just that. The thunderbolt flew straight into the top right hand corner of the net giving Grant no chance. Burnley now had it all to do and in the 75th minute went for broke with a double-substitution bringing on both Paterson and Edgar who replaced Wallace and Stanislas. With the wingers no longer in the equation, we played with three up front and moved McCann and Marney more further forward in an effort to try and get an equaliser on basically an unplayable pitch. It worked for a time with Blackpool now playing deeper trying to mop up the Burnley pressure. A deflected shot from Edgar led to a corner in the 81st minute as Clarets fans hopes for a late equaliser began to take shape. The corner though nearly led to a goal for Blackpool on the break after Marney was robbed on the edge of the box to set up a counterattack. Tom Ince thought he had scored but his shot took a deflection off Mee and flew against the face of the crossbar before bouncing back to Silvestre. Thankfully this time though he missed with his heading attempt flying wide from just six yards out! That was it though, a 1-0 defeat for the Clarets and a pretty miserable day out in the end. Now I had to walk back to Blackpool South and on the train endure excessive swearing, singing and loud noise from a bunch of drunken Burnley kids all the way back with the Police on the train having to intervene and calm them down. Funny little train but not much fun in the end!
Blackpool: Gilks, Crainey, Baptiste, Basham, MacKenzie, Broadfoot, M Phillips(Eardley - 86), Sylvestre (Cathcart - 86), Ferguson, Ince, Delfouneso (Taylor-Fletcher - 90' )
Subs Not Used: Halstead, Grandin, Angel, Derbyshire
Goal: Sylvestre 58
Booked: Yellow Cards for Matt Phillips (51), Baptiste (63) and Ferguson (90 +3)
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Mee, Wallace (Paterson - 75), McCann, Marney (Ings - 87), Stanislas (Edgar - 75), Vokes, Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Lafferty, Bartley, Treacy
Possession: 52% Blackpool, 48% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire)